Science Fiction Concepts Turning into Medical Reality:
An informative essay on human genetic engineering
Imagine creating a real life “super human”, a human with both physical and optimal, health by altering their biological make up? This idea would seem to be one straight of a science fiction story, but with biotechnology this may soon be possible. Biotechnology is defined in Webster’s Medical Dictionary as the manipulation, as through genetic engineering, of living organisms or their components to produce useful usually commercial products. Biotechnology has been around for quite some time in pharmaceutical and agricultural ...view middle of the document...
One of the most important benefits of human genetic engineering is gene therapy.
Gene therapy is, as defined in Webster Medical Dictionary, as the insertion of usually genetically altered genes into cells especially to replace defective genes in the treatment of genetic disorders or to provide a specialized disease-fighting function, such as the destruction of tumor cells. Over the past decade, gene therapy has succeeded in finding treatments for certain heart diseases. The first gene therapy trial in humans corrected a life-threatening immune disorder in a two-year-old girl who, more than ten years later, is doing well. The gene therapy required dozens of applications but has saved the family from a $60,000 per year bill for necessary drug treatment without the gene therapy (Jaroff).
According to the University Of Missouri School Of Medicine, gene therapy and genetic engineering are two closely related technologies that involve altering the genetic material of organisms. But, there are many variations on the technology to achieve this goal. Gene therapy introduces a new gene into the body to help fight a disease, whereas human genetic engineering arranges the genes for the desired functions. Researchers are now hoping to detect, modify or remove the faulty or disease causing genes early on, before gene therapy is even needed, by using genetic engineering. Human genetic engineering in some cases can minimize and or prevent the suffering and damages, caused by certain defective genes.
Consider the story of a parent of sickle cell anemia, a genetic disease that many researchers have proposed treating through human genetic engineering;
Our sickle cell anemic children are now young adults. Only rarely can we all be home together as a family. Usually one or two, sometimes all three, are in the hospital being treated for acute disease crises or for the debilitating effects of the disease. This is now a way of life, or I should say a way of existence....the removal of their gallbladders. At one point my daughter experienced a blockage of blood vessels causing a thrombosis in the brain, which in turn produced a stroke....I hear her cry for a normal life, and if this cannot be, I have heard her ask, "Why can’t I die" (Evans 2).
Stories like these help demonstrate that there are good and strong reasons for a continuing effort to implement these life changing techniques.
Human genetic engineering, such as gene therapy could also be sought to alleviate a condition that is less than life-threatening and perhaps considered by some to simply be one of life's inconveniences, such as a gene that may offer resistance to AIDS or may enhance memory. Such genes are known now and many are suggesting that these goals will and should be available for gene therapy (Bohlin).
A future benefit of human genetic engineering is that a fetus with a genetic disorder will be treated before the baby is born. Parents will be able to look forward to a healthy baby. In...